The Little Black Dress, or LBD, is one of the most important classics a woman should own. The LBD comes in many shapes, cuts and sizes, but has three main defining features: it’s a dress, it’s black and it’s never longer than knee-high.
Inventor of the LBD
Such a simple and easily designable garment does not have an inventor as such, since so many tailors in history have created a dress that complied with the LBD’s defining features. However, fashion historians have generally agreed to credit Coco Chanel and Jean Patou for settling the importance of the LBD as we know it today.
The original little black dress dates back to the 1920s, when short, neutral dresses were all the rage. The neutral dress made it possible to combine jewelry and accessories with it and create a different look with the same dress. The roaring twenties was a time when every large city had an abundance of frivolous parties, almost every day of the week. The Little Black Dress allowed women to wear their party dresses for more than once and thus save money and a lot of dressing stress!
Little Black Dress through time
When the Little Black Dress came to life in the 1920s it hasn’t left the stage ever since. The reason why the 1920s was the perfect time for the LBD to become more main stream is that before that time black was seen as a mourning colour. The 1920s was the first time when this changed and that was mostly due to Coco Chanel’s efforts. She designed the dress with economy and style in mind, she wanted to create a sort of stylish uniform for women of any social standing, and she succeeded.
The Great Depression in the 1930s probably added much to that success. Global economies fell and unemployment numbers skyrocketed. The LBD still offered women a chance to look stylish and refined, without having to spend money on clothing. The versatility of the dress was challenged by many in these years, and the LBD became a settled fashion trend.
Hollywood movies also took to the LBD, since black clothing was best for the new technicolor technique used in Hollywood.
Since then, the LBD has been fitted in any fashion era and into any style. Famous LBD moments include the classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Audrey Hepburn shined throughout the film wearing her Little Black Dress, designed by Givenchy.